Source: ‘Police roadblocks threat to ease of doing business’ | The Herald July 1, 2016
From Lloyd Gumbo in VICTORIA FALLS
Delegates attending the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Congress here have rapped the police for mounting a chain of roadblocks on the roads saying they were an impediment to the Ease of Doing Business.
National Assembly Speaker Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday said there was need for the police to reduce the number of roadblocks as recently pronounced by national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.
“We have debated in Parliament and said there is no law that says there should be X number of roadblocks on the road,” he said.
“Tourists driving from Beitbridge to here, Victoria Falls, on average must go through 20 roadblocks, why? They have been checked at the border for whatever imagined misdemeanours they might have and they came through Customs and Immigration.”
Adv Mudenda said reducing the number of roadblocks would open the country to tourists and investors.
He said other countries such as Tanzania and Kenya had reduced the number of police roadblocks after realising their negative consequences.
“You bring an investor from outside and that investor lands at Harare International Airport. They go through Customs and Immigration. You go out on the left there is an Air Zimbabwe hangar, you pass our Independence Arch there is a roadblock.
“Can this investor be a criminal within that 5km radius? Let us not be our own enemies against strengthening the Ease of Doing Business by doing certain things that are not warranted,” said Adv Mudenda.
ZNCC president Mr Davison Norupiri added that too many roadblocks were not conducive for business to thrive.
“We have got issues of roadblocks, which we are experiencing that are becoming an impediment to business. You can actually come across more than 50 roadblocks from Victoria Falls to Harare.
“One of our members once lost more than 40 000 day-old chicks through roadblocks when the chicks were being transported from Harare to Victoria Falls,” said Mr Norupiri.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating officer Mr Givemore Chidzidzi concurred with Adv Mudenda and Mr Norupiri saying police roadblocks impacted negatively on the tourism sector.
“When we talk of some of the fines; people being fined for not having reflectors on their cars. If you are a foreign tourist driving a car hired from Namibia or South Africa, it definitely doesn’t have those stickers.
“Yet when you cross the Zimbabwean border you are expected to have those stickers and that is driving tourists away,” said Mr Chidzidzi.
In his remarks, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Ray Ndhlukula acknowledged the negative impact of too many police roadblocks on business.
“Time is the most expensive commodity that we have. If you can’t manage time, you can’t progress. If you can’t manage time, you are going nowhere. Its a major weakness.
“This is why, the roadblocks are so many because they don’t appreciate time. If you are going to have 20 roadblocks between Beitbridge and Victoria Falls and at every roadblock you are stopped for about five minutes.
“That is an hour that you have lost and that is money. It can cause you to lose money. If you are going to get onto a flight, that means you miss your flight and you have to spend more money,” said Dr Ndhlukula.